Sindhupalchok rosemary farmers left high and dryFarmers who have been growing rosemary in their fields are worried as they are having a hard time finding buyers for the herb, and the company that had pledged to buy their crops has fled.
Farmers who have been growing rosemary in their fields are worried as they are having a hard time finding buyers for the herb, and the company that had pledged to buy their crops has fled.
The leaves of the rosemary plant are used as flavouring in foods, and its oil is made into body perfume. Rosemary tea is also a good source of vitamins. In Nepal, the plant is usually burnt as incense.
Farmers said that they had spent a lot of money in cultivating rosemary after a company sold them the plants and assured them that it would buy their crops.
However, the company has vanished; and farmers are left in a dilemma as they don’t know what to do with the plants.
“We have not been able to find buyers. The plants have started to rot,” said Gopal Nagarkoti of Melamchi municipality. “A company had agreed to buy all our plants, but now they don’t even answer the phone.”
Nagarkoti made a Rs200,000 investment in his rosemary farm immediately after the 2015 earthquake. He bought the plants for Rs15 each and cultivated them on 10 ropanis. “I thought I would make some money,” Nagarkoti added. “But, now I am hopeless as the company is not answering our phone calls.” Some 100 families are involved in rosemary cultivation in Melamchi municipality alone. In Chautara, around 80 families started growing rosemary with hopes of making some money. All the farmers are disappointed and angry after being deceived by the company.
“We have invested thousands, and now the plants are rotting,” said Buddha Ghale of Chautara. “We did not receive any notice about the nursery company too.”
Ghale complained that government agencies like the Department of Forests, Department of Agriculture and others had not taken the issue seriously. The District Forest Office (DFO) has not been able to take any action against the company which has cheated farmers.
“As it is a private company, we are having some difficulty collecting details,” said assistant forest officer Shankar Raj Giri. “We are making efforts to find the company following complaints from farmers.”